Chinese School Desks with Railings Prevent Near-Sightedness

Bars/railings installed on school desks at a primary school in Wuhan, China help students develop good habits and discourage the development of myopia near-sightedness.

Bars/railings installed on school desks at a primary school in Wuhan, China help students develop good habits and discourage the development of myopia near-sightedness.

From Phoenix Online and NetEase:

A Primary School in Wuhan Installs “Railings/Metal Bars” to Defend Against Near-Sightedness/Myopia

February 21 report — With the start of the new school semester, the 42 Class 1 “left-behind” [parents work away from home in another part of the country] boarding students of Wuhan Xinzhou Zhucheng Street Zhanglin Elementary School began using a new style anti-near-sightedness [myopia] school desk. School principal Zhang Jianming explains that these school desks were provided by the Wuhan Youth Poor Eyesight Prevention Center, used to help students form proper habits when it comes to using their eyesight [to avoid having their heads too close when reading or writing].




Comments from Phoenix Online:


Using this with the lower grades is indeed beneficial. Just 3 weeks is enough to help children develop good habits. The entire country should be mobilized to prevent against near-sightedness, it would truly be a good thing!


I want children to grow up healthy.


Although it is a little forceful, the intent is good, and should be commended.


Students are near-sighted nowadays not because of studying and reading books but because of the flood of video/computer games.


Idiotic school.


This school desk is very good, can effectively help students develop good habits.


A good idea. If it were like this back in my day, I wouldn’t have to wear eyeglasses everyday.


First, let me commend this, and recommend that it be improved to be a little more humanized, then spread it to the entire country.


It has to be like this! Otherwise our motherland’s future will all be near-sighted!

Comments from NetEase:

红軍 [网易广东省惠州市网友]:

This design is actually not bad,
The Beibeijia was also very good [a product that helps correct posture]

网易河南省洛阳市西工区网友 [骑驴找猪猪]:

There’s a true statistic, that the proportion of Japanese high school students graduating with near-sightedness is less than 20%, whereas the rate of near-sightedness for Chinese highh school graduates is over 80%…

网易山东省青岛市手机网友 ip:123.234.*.*: (responding to above)

China is the only country that does eye exercises [for students, like calisthenics], not one of.

竹贤隐士 [网易福建省泉州市网友]:

The little girl in picture 4 is being naughty.

网易辽宁省阜新市手机网友 ip:119.109.*.*:

Although the method is crude, it should be of use. Being near-sighted really is inconvenient.

网易陕西省渭南市网友 ip:124.89.*.*:

This is good, reading [too closely] has ruined eyes.


Although it looks rather stiff [crude], this is definitely a good thing.

网易广东省中山市网友(59.33.*.*): (responding to above)

But many provocateurs see anything in China and must spout shit [criticize, bash, flame], regardless of whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, using all sorts of reasoning, with bringing chaos to China being their goal.

网易广东省深圳市手机网友(183.37.*.*): (responding to above)

Have you taken your medicine?

网易江苏省手机网友 ip:117.136.*.*: (also responding to above)

You mustn’t stop taking your medicine.

READ  Changsha Old City Walls Razed For Relocation, Netizens React

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

  • BrandeX

    They wouldn’t have as many vision problems if every room in the country wasn’t lit with only a single 5 watt light.

    • lacompacida

      It is a genetic problem, not environmental.

  • Guest

    Will something like this actually work? o.o


    can this really prevent near-sightedness?

    • lacompacida

      No. But it will certainly destroy their peripheral vision.

  • commander

    Though many watchers outside China view those metal bars as primitive while wondering if the railings have any positive effects to lower the near sightedness rate, it could serve as a constant reminder to children that you need to care about your eye vision even after you are at home.

    The metal bars in classroom, though somewhat unsightly, will help pupils to cultivatev a habit of protecting their eye vision into adulthood.

    In this sense, I think it is primitive but effective for preserving eye vision.

    • lacompacida

      Yep. Remind them to take care of their health, while destroying the peripheral vision. Great move, China.

  • tomoe723

    who pays for these types of tables? I smell huge amounts of kickbacks for their purchases…

    • lacompacida

      They probably forced all parents to pay for them, or their kids won’t allow to attend classes.

  • Claude

    Any study`s showing that these desks work to prevent near sightedness? I expect it would be good for posture when reading but I need to see a study on the prevention of near sightedness. The article fell short in that matter. Do some research before posting.

    • lacompacida

      Reminds me of the 10 thousand catty per acre production that Mao promoted in the 1950’s.

  • Loopins

    Check the last photo with the little girl getting nice and close because she’s put her head under the bar.

  • It’s a me Mario

    Am I the only one that this article remind of a documentary from Vice about North Korea where the tour guide introduced the journalist to “the perfect school desks” designed by Kim Jong-Il and used in the whole country?

  • diverdude7

    u know how soooooooo many Chinese wear eyeglasses,,, I wonder if they are hard-of-hearing too ? Perhaps that is why the ‘speak’ so loudly…. hmmmm

  • Q Ball

    This does not prevent myopia. Its the studying itself that exacerbates the genetic component. Its very unhealthy for children to study 10 hours a day 6 days a week. Gives their eyes no chance to readjust.

    • Irvin

      This somehow reminds me of a video of sir ken robinson, he said that kids that people think suffer from ADD isn’t, they’re suffering from childhood. If you put a kid to do mundane clerical work don’t be surprise if they figet.

  • mr.wiener

    I think we used to use some sort of barrier like that when I was young…..when we were starting a BMX race!
    Sad fact is the writing system demands a lot from young learners. This looks crude, but practical.

    • Guest23

      Seems like metal braces for the eyes, pretty crude.

      Had a friend wondering if that classroom was pretending to be in a roller coaster.

    • lacompacida

      Yep. Pretty good at destroying peripheral vision. Watch out for drivers like that. They can’t see you even if they shoulder check before changing lanes.

  • Guest23

    As a lot of commentators say, it’s practical but crude, the only effective way is to really talk about and explain eye health, lots of kids looking at the sun directly or watching TV for hours without rest, or just look at PC monitors for a long time while gaming.

    • Irvin

      15 years and still gaming, perfect vision.

      • Guest23

        Okay, it’s still debatable, but my main point is they really ought to teach the kids like those annoying commercials about taking care of your teeth the same as the eyes, like how dangerous pollution can be to the eyes, like the smog in some of the northern cities,

        And yes, like the others say, it’s genetic too.

        • Irvin

          How can they educated the kids if they don’t know the cause?

          It’s only useful to educate them to something they can influence, pollution and genetic isn’t something they can do shit about.

          • Guest23

            Do’s and Dont’s, like cover your eyes if there’s a ton of smoke, don’t read in the dark or with dim light.

          • Irvin

            Been smoking since 17, still perfect eye sight. Like I said you can’t educated if you are not educated.

          • Guest23

            Sorry but I’m not getting your point if you’re getting insulted with teaching kids about eye health, I’m not talking about smoking cigarettes, it’s exposure of smoke to the eyes, environmental irritants, and you keep making yourself a perfect example, not everyone is like you.

            I’m only commentating that these desk railings are pretty crude and unnecessary .

            That last bit you said, you better edit with your usage of adjectives by the way.

          • Irvin

            How can one smoke and not expose one’s eyes to smoke?

  • Irvin

    I’ve been playing game since 11, hardcore gamer non the less with slack parents so you can be sure I played pretty much everything and pretty often, that’s with the old tube tvs and crt monitors.

    I didn’t used to read alot of books until 17. Then I read pretty much all of micheal crichton’s book, the whole ender series, alot of dirk pitt, all of dan brown, the whole harry potter series, whole twilight series (don’t judge me), and a mix bag of other novels. All in all pretty much over 100 novels.

    During university in china I got nicknamed “binocular” because of my superior vision. Playing games will ruin your vision is a myth, so is reading.

    One thing you shouldn’t do is read under dimmed lights and while lying down.

    • loki

      Just wanted to take a moment and say… It shows in your writing.

      • Irvin

        Don’t know if that’s a compliment or an insult, but I’ll happily take both.

    • Jahar

      Just because it didn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

  • Irvin

    It IS inherited, if humans still lived in the wild we wouldn’t have any near sights because we would be subject more harshly to natural selection and be killed off by snakes.

  • Germandude

    I foresee a success for exporting these engineering masterpieces.

    • lacompacida

      You may be dumb enough to use this contraption.

  • Teacher in China

    Yeesh, seems unnecessary to me. Not sure there’s any evidence to support their theory at all and would love to read it if there is. What I think can be fixed easily and very helpful, is poor lighting. In my old school, there was often poor lighting in the classrooms when the kids were trying to read their stacks of homework.

    Anyone else encounter the fear of wearing glasses? I’ve heard from more than a few Chinese parents (and their sons/daughters) that they don’t want to wear glasses because “that will make their eyes bug out” – meaning literally, not just the illusion of it happening. And I constantly see people squinting here, as if afraid of getting glasses. Half the time I’m getting stared at, I’m actually getting squinted at.

  • lacompacida

    It is great that Chinese educators are using ineffective and harmful unscientific methods to prevent myopia. Looking forward to greatly increased cases of myopias in next generation of Chinese youth, and reduced selection pool of fighter pilots for China.

    Myopia is mostly due to genetics. The way to lower incidence rate is introducing more genes without that problem.

    • Dax

      There can hardly be “greatly increased” levels of myopia when the rate is already around 80% by the time they get into college. I don’t see how this can be any less effective than what they’re doing now (daily TCM/accupressure “exercises”)

  • lacompacida

    The best prevention for myopia is “Go outside to play.”

    • Stefan Xu

      but, isn’t that a waste of time? isn’t it better to study?

  • lacompacida

    Actually, it is more practical to go grab a snack every 15 minutes, and go outside to play for 15 minutes every hour.

  • The majority of myopia is from genetics or aging. As for protecting general health around the area of concern, less desk bound study and more free play and physical exercise.

    • ScottLoar

      And, play and physical exercise in open, green spaces, because urban life is confining with everything near, loud and riotous.

      After some long while spent removed from that urban riot I returned to the US and found myself disoriented by the number of signs on the expressway; the speed of the cars and the colours in the city almost made me sick. Living far removed in the countryside you pick up subtleties in the change of the landscape – sights, smells, sounds – that you cannot discriminate in an urban environment or you’ll pass out from sensory overload.

      Despite statistics showing most of the Chinese population as rural the truth is Chinese have been living cheek to jowl for several millennia, even in remote villages they bunch together as densely as in urban populations. Medieval Europe was heavily forested and thinly populated (peasantry was often naked to spare expensive and woven clothing from wear), and the forest tracts were rightly considered the haunts of people outside the pale of civilization like witches (e.g. note the scenes of Grimm’s Fairy Tales), robbers, and those up to no good.The majority of Chinese population – and I welcome evidence to the contrary – has always been in dense although agricultural settlement.

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    “Please keep your hands and arms inside the desk until class has come to a full and complete stop.”

    • linette lee

      Look at that guy with the cellphone. Like a boss.

    • Probotector

      You must be this tall to take this class. Pregnant women, the elderly and anyone with a heart condition/high blood pressure are prohibited from learning.

  • Insomnicide

    A step in the right direction, but this method seems….inefficient.

  • linette lee

    Nearsightedness is inherited but visual stress is also considered a risk factor for nearsightedness. It’s usually during childhood when the kids are growing their eyes are developing. How they use their eyes can put them at higher risk of developing nearsightedness. Those opthamologists will tell the kid patients to avoid visual stress like too much reading, or watching TV computer. Reading in dim lights. Just avoid visual stress which is a risk factor for nearsightedness.

    If you are reading too long at an uncomfortable distance that is visual stress too. But I don’t see why these bars should be necessary. If your eyes are tired just give it a rest especially for kids who are growing.

    China is still fuxked up is because all the people who are in power managing China are retarded. These people sitting on top managing school, healthcare, department of traffic etc etc are retards and uneducated and corrupt. Wasting and stealing money of the China citizens. The people who suffer from the worst depression in China are Chinese that are highly intelligent but poor. I don’t know how they can live there dealing with the retardedness of the China society.

  • vonskippy

    Sooooooo very stupid. Learn (or steal) some basic medical science China.

  • Probotector

    I kind of see what they were trying with this, you see, when it comes to prevention of myopia, these sort of head butt bars can perhaps… actually no, they just fucked up. They are missing the point that myopia is the result of eye strain and/or genetics. In the case of the Han Chinese, it’s largely genetics. When asking why so many Chinese wear glasses, they’ll brush it off and say “it’s because we’re so hard working in school” (lol). On the other hand, the very nature of Chinese education that is so emphatic on book work is compounding the problem.

    What needs to happen is that China accepts that shortsightedness is, for the most part, an unavoidable problem, and should adjust the learning environment effectively to compensate for this. Perhaps, as others have suggested on here, they shouldn’t be staring at textbooks in two-hour-long classes all day, in poor lighting conditions without adequate recess. Moreover, they might consider not having classrooms of about 80 students, most of whom are sitting at the back of the room, when they know they can’t possibly see the blackboard.

    • linette lee

      And they should stop making the students read long hours studying for these examines. It’s all dead memorizing. How much can your brain retain anyway from reading a textbook studying for 6 hours a day? You probably only retain like 20% of the whole 6 hours. Why do they need to study from a textbook that’s 400 pages long? Why not use review books and get to the important points? All the tests should be from review books.

      • Probotector

        Continuous study without a break is coutnter productive, and it’s been clinically proven.

  • Stefan Xu

    I have a question to you all, do you think that the use of glasses has a higher percentage in China than in the west?

    • Probotector

      Yes it is, but then, there’s more people in China, so do you mean proportionately? In that case, there still are more that wear glasses in China.

      • Stefan Xu


        • ScottLoar

          Stefan, I think any one of us from the West with some experience of China has sooner or later noticed that more Chinese wear glasses than the same ages as Westerners. The stereotype of the Chinese kid with glasses is not without foundation.

          • Foreign Devil

            In the west most people get laser surgery or wear contact lenses.. Young people in china mostly don’t, do it is hard to compare just by looking around.

          • ScottLoar

            I think that this article and the comments of the Chinese seem to show that despite laser surgery “more Chinese wear glasses than the same ages as Westerners”. Contact lenses are cheap in China and, yes, worn a lot, even to change eye colour as a fashion statement.

          • Rick in China

            National Eye Institute 2012 statistics indicate 75% of Americans wear “some form” of corrective lens. Anecdotal evidence aside (ie. “looking around”), I don’t think more people in China wear corrective lenses or have corrective surgery, at least not significantly, many people I know in China *should* and just don’t, including my wife and I actually. I’m sure TONS of people in China need glasses, many wear them, and we can make up reasons for this, but anecdotes deserve no place in statements of fact, especially argued with conviction.

    • I don’t think more Chinese wear corrective lenses than westerners. I suspect less Chinese wear contact lenses instead of glasses. (I prefer glasses, personally.)

  • They call me “Laowei”

    Why don’t they just duct tape a length of bambo to the arms of the kids? That would seem to be a more cost effective solution.

    • Probotector

      No duct tape in China.

      • They call me “Laowei”

        Hmmmmm……. I hear opportunity knocking.

  • One for all

    Too much time spent indoors in books means not enough sunlight for the eyes….resulting in under-developed visual senses.

  • Mighty曹

    This should end the stereotype that all Chinese wear glasses.

    • Probotector

      They wish.

  • loki

    I can imagine it being very hard to admit that an entire race has genetically fucked themselves into being, short, blind, and hard of hearing….

    • Probotector

      Actually, I find most Chinese to be really tall, freakishly so actually. Blind?
      Well, short sighted really, but I’ll give you that, although I’m not sure it’s specifically their fault. Hard of hearing? Hard of understanding is more like it. since they can”t follow you unless your tones are exactly perfect, or they could just be pretending. If however you’re referring to their loudness, it’s just obnoxiousness or perhaps, in some cases, their way of being assertive.

      • Lord_Helmet

        You actually touched on a point have been wondering about for years. I have found that Chinese people who don’t speak English understand my Chinese a lot more than those who can speak English. I have also felt that they are pretending not to be able to understand me. Reasons???

        • Probotector

          I find it to be hit and miss when it comes to understanding. The strangest thing is that some of them tell me they thought I was speaking English, even though it obviously at least sounded like Chinese. An inherent problem resulting from the fact that Chinese pronunciation is an exact science, and that it’s spoken by a population that can’t think. As for the whole pretending to not understand (and I know what you mean) it’s basically because they want to put you down to satisfy their own insecurities.

          • Lord_Helmet

            Yeah I feel they don’t understand on purpose, the majority are men. I think it makes them feel inferior that I can be here for 4 years and speak a good level of Chinese, when they have studied English for 20 years. The reason why I have 2 good Chinese male friends and the rest are women. Such a shame!

        • Dax

          Sometimes they just want to show off their mad english skillz.

        • donscarletti

          It’s to do with patience. It takes a lot of effort to understand someone who’s pronunciation and phrasing is not what they are used to hearing. Those who have put a lot of effort into learning English with some degree of fluency, or at least believe they have, feel that they shouldn’t have to bother with trying to understand with your Chinese. Those who have not gained that level of fluency, or don’t think they have, will not really mind putting in the effort to understand you.
          I found though, when my language skills improved, it stopped happening so much, people are usually too bashful to speak English with me now, since they think I might judge them or tease them or something (I wouldn’t, since I know what learning a second language feels like). The other thing is, I moved to Haidian District, Beijing, where there are a bunch of foreign Chinese language students who go in for the whole immersion experience and appreciate any chance to speak Chinese in daily life, and shopkeepers and waitresses always oblige. When I lived in Chaoyang, strangers assumed I was just there on business for a few days and tried to speak English to me as best they could, which is very considerate and welcoming and fantastic for most people, but wasn’t so helpful for me at the time.

      • SzMach5

        I’ve also found a lot of Chinese people to be tall (over 6 ft / 1.83m) nowadays, especially around Beijing and northern China.

        In terms of their loudness, I guess it’s just a habit and the fact that there are so many people in China that they have to yell to be heard.

      • Jahar

        most? really? i dont know where you live, but im guessing not in the south. also, we know how good eyeballing is for statistical analysis.

        • Probotector

          I can’t comment on the south as I’ve never been there. Here in Henan, most Chinese teenagers and adults, both male and female are about six feet and over, which is relatively tall. There are shorter ones as well of course, especially older people, but most young people tend to be taller. I assume that’s a result of improved diet. As for eyeballing, well, I’m not measuring them precisely, but my eyes can accurately tell me without a ruler if they are tall or not.

          • Jahar

            By eyeballing i was referring to the proportions, not their height. But to say most people in Henan are over 6 feet tall is ludicrous, considering the countries considered to be the tallest in the world barely average over 6 feet for men, let alone women. average heights in china for men and women are about 5’7″ and 5’3″, respectively. you mean to tell me that Henan girls are at least 9 inches above the national average?

          • Probotector

            Well, perhaps ‘most’ is inaccurate, but there’s certainly a noticeable amount (typically males, but also females) of the teenager/young adult population here who stand at about 6′ or more.

    • linette lee

      The Chinese in the older generation were short due to wars back then. No foods to eat. Right now I don’t find Chinese short among Asians. They are tall compare to other Asians. They are not that much shorter compare to White, but some Europeans are just very very tall and big like 6ft 2inch 220 lbs easy or 6ft 4in. The Chinese in high school in this generation are average to tall in average height. Chinese however are skinny. Most are skinnier than other race.

      • whuddyasack

        True. When viewing Chinese as a short race, GDP per capita and nutrition quality is often overlooked.

        In the bigger cities and in the middle class, they are of normal height. Most overseas Chinese my age that grew up in Western countries are reasonably tall, around 6 feet plus and minus. That said, I find Northern Europeans are really big.

        But yeah, most Chinese have a lanky build. Light, delicate bone structure on a skinny frame that resembles a White teenager’s. Actually there is a BMI chart that does mention that Asians have the smallest BMI allowable and real. A 140lb Chinese is considered very big but for a White person, this is very small (for males).

      • Jahar

        actually, the average chinese person is shorter than your average japanese, who is shorter than your average korean. Part of it is dietary, but part is genetic too. both with height and bulk.

        • linette lee

          of course if you take the average of 1.4 billion people which include hundred millions of those poor China folks living in the rural areas without clean water to drink or enough rice to eat. If you just take the average of Chinese living in cities those only with enough nutritions from both North and South part of China, then Chinese probably taller than both Korean and Japanese. The Northern Chinese are giants abnormally tall and the South part of China like Canton they are not small neither. Chinese kids this generation in high school they are not small nor short in those cities.

          • Jahar

            Oh i thought you meant Chinese people when you said Chinese people. Not a handpicked group living in optimal conditions. Also, you are comparing the tallest you find in China to the average people you see in the other countries.

          • linette lee

            I am saying the Chinese kids in those places where they do not suffer malnutrition are not short when compare to white kids living in those places where they also do not suffer malnutrition.
            How do I pick the tallest Chinese to compare? I pick all cities in China both North and South. I am saying the rural part of China the kids there many do suffer from lack of proper nutrition. Do you think those poor rural China kids have milk to drink or even eat enough meats? They probably just eat some rice and tofu two meals a day. And go hungry most of the day. The white kids in most western countries eat dairy foods which contain calcium and protein so they develop much better their bones are longer.

            Also I would like to point out one thing. I know because I am Chinese. The Chinese people many like to drink soy milk and eat rice soupy with vegetable growing up as kids. I never drank milk as child in Hong Kong back then. Unlike the western kids they eat cereal(vitamins) and milk(calcium and protein). Soy milk don’t have calcium for bones and rice soup is not protein but just raise your blood sugar. But with more and more fast food chains in the Chinese cities I see the Chinese kids are eating more dairy. They are getting taller and some even get fatter.

            Height is genetic but having the proper nutrients is also a factor for proper development.

          • linette lee

            Chinese kids in Canton South part of China. Kids are getting bigger and bigger.


      • loki

        I think its because of the levels of testosterone in Chinese as a race.. think about it for a second. testosterone is to blame for things like height, muscle mass, size of cock, deep voice, aggression, body hair, sexual aggressiveness … westerners are known/famous for these traits yet Chinese all (pretty much) are known for lacking in these areas. Seems to me to fit rather well..

        You cannot blame being short on the amount of food that was available back 3+generations ago. not eating enough or eating too much does NOT affect you genetically. (means you children will not be genetically predisposed to be short.)

        Also not eating makes you thin, not so much short. Shortness is a genetically engineered featured that has evolved through breeding and natural selection. Darwinism…

  • North-eastern

    I thought only Japanese were famous for “unuseless” inventions.

  • ScottLoar

    Better remedies would be stop using a single fluourescent ceiling tube to light each room (yeah, it’s cheap but hell on eyesight!), give kids a break but kicking their little butts outside to play (“blow the stink off” as my mother used to say), and understand that allowing a child to follow his peculiar interests will usually result in what is good for the child and his success.

    The most successful men I know now were as kids, almost to a man, misfits or otherwise ordinary achievers in school.

  • Foreign Devil

    And in other news, the children at this school have 10x the usual rate of illnesses because they all have their mouths and runny noses pressed up on the same spot on those metal bars. Guess china never got the news bulletin that astigmatism is caused by genetic inheritance.

  • comradewang

    Good intentions but too bad it’s OVERKILL

  • whuddyasack

    Not just for the eyes. Those railings are also flexible, students can also play with them by moving them forwards and back. Good exercise for those frail, skinny arms! That’s like killing 2 Chinese birds with 1 stone.

  • Rick in China

    The kid in the blue jacket of the 2nd image, top centre ish, appears to have a different book. He also appears really happy – smuggled in comix?

  • Paul Schoe

    Interesting. Thanks for the info, didn’t know about a link between UV radiation and sight.

  • Paul Schoe


    Not related to this topic, but I found out while reading this:


    I got a message that Disqus has changed the voting policy, and that the number of down-votes are now no longer displayed.

    I really regret this change.

    Showing the number of down-votes enables us to express that we slightly or strongly disagree with a post. This is particularly important when for example racist remarks are made or personal insults.

    By taking away the display of the down-votes, readers can no longer see how many of the community disagree with an opinion, thereby giving more legitimicy to exactly those remarks that do not deserve that.

    To those who agree with me, please let China Smack and Disqus know that you want the display of number of down-votes re-instated.

    • Rick in China

      I’d rather it ignore non-guest votes and display names on downvotes so people can’t hide :D

      • Paul Schoe

        I would not have argued that one, but in this new policy a down-vote basically has lost its value. By down-voting, you express an opinion for others to see. You say that you really disagree with a post. If your down-vote is not visual anymore (in a count), then the purpose disappears.

        • Rick in China

          I agree – however it still maintains its use in terms of post hierarchy… I’d still rather go the other direction and make it all transparent. I don’t get why they’d hide the downvote at all…

    • ScottLoar

      Racist remarks and personal insults invariably receive the highest number of up-votes. This “voting” has never been about quality or reason, it’s all about like or dislike as in “that’s good snark” (up-vote) or “I don’t like this guy” (down-vote).

      • Paul Schoe

        I am more optimistic then you. I think that the people that down vote a comment only because they do not like the poster, is a very small majority compared to people that down-vote because they disagree with the poster.

        But there is no empirical evidence of either, so we keep it at our gut-feelings ;-)

      • Kai

        Unfortunately, that is applicable to a lot (but of course not all, as @paulschoe:disqus argues) of the voting behavior on cS. A lot of the most upvoted comments are simple demogogery conforming to knee-jerk reactions. This phenomenon tends to correlate with size of community.

        • ScottLoar

          No, this phenomenon tends to correlate with the size of the community’s experience and knowledge.

          • Kai

            Yes, your statement is more accurate than mine is. I’m generally referring to the common phenomenon where the larger the audience is, the more likely you’ll have a wider spectrum of experience and knowledge, for better or worse.

    • Kai

      This is not something we can control so appeal to Disqus, not us.

      Rick in China Neither was public display of who downvoted. The reasoning Disqus gave for that was to discourage people from downvoting those who downvoted them out of retribution.

      I don’t think the potential positive of this latest change by Disqus outweighs the potential negatives. The potential positive is to discourage people who troll with downvoting but the negative is the complete neutering of a feedback mechanism for the community.

      Disqus uses the votes in a very specific and narrow application: the sorting of comments when a user has Disqus set to “sort by best”. I imagine Disqus factors both up and downvotes to determine order. As someone who uses “sort by oldest” for chonrology sake, this is personally irrelevant to me.

      A problem here is that there’s a lot of upvote trolling as well, where people upvote fundamentally mean-spirited comments.

      Moreover, there is the problem of upvote padding. Before Disqus made downvoting limited to registered users, people could use a variety of ways to upvote or downvote a comment multiple times if they wanted to. It’s like sockpuppetry. People would pad votes in order to make a comment seem more or less popular.

      After Disqus limited downvoting to registered users, only the most hardcore would bother to register multiple accounts and jump through hoops necessary to engage in downvote padding. Consequently and unfortunately, we saw an increase in upvote padding after that, because upvote padding was still as easy as before. Instead of downvoting someone to “win” an argument, people just migrated towards using upvotes to “win”.

      Since that change and until this change, I personally thought downvotes carried a bit more weight than upvotes, precisely because the community understood only people who took the time to register an account could downvote. Upvotes were cheap and even if they weren’t padded, “Guest” upvotes could’ve came from any random passerby, whereas even if you couldn’t see who downvoted you, the downvote was more likely to be by a registered user and typically a regular member of the commenting community here.

      With this new change, I fear we’ll have the same (if not more) upvote padding as before, but without any visible downvoting to judge in context.

      • Paul Schoe

        Kai, I did write to Disqus, with similar arguments. They replied and said that they would discuss it in their team.

        I understand their motives behind their change, but those reasons only apply to certain sites. For sites like CS; down-votes are a very important tool for a community to show their disagreement with certain posts. I have therefore suggested that they make it a parameter for web-site masters. That way web-site masters can choose to show the number of down-votes, or not.

        Since you are hosting this Disqus-forum, support from you may help. I am not a business partner from them, but CS is. They might not want to change their default policy, but giving the site-managers an option to show the number of down-votes is a very simple change for Disqus, as the coding to show the number of down-votes is already there.

        • Kai

          Agree, if more people write to Disqus, maybe it’ll help. I can understand their motives too but like I said, I think the potential positive is outweighed by the potential negatives. What’s strange is that they didn’t announce this change on their blog which is where they would normally get feedback. Not sure why.

          Like you, we and a lot of other sites using Disqus have been vocal in asking/hoping for more control over the voting feature, such as whether or not there is voting at all or whether or not voters are identified. So far, only Disqus knows why such control hasn’t been made available. I suspect they are relying on voting to surface content in other features across the system so allowing sites to disable voting entirely might throw a wrench in that information flow. That doesn’t explain however why sites can’t have a bit more control in the visibility of votes though. Like you say, it doesn’t sound difficult from a coding perspective.

  • Gordon Gogodancer

    They look like cattle….and are probably considered cattle

  • linette lee

    From what I remember during childhood all the othamologists and optomestrist would tell us don’t strain your eyes and let them rest. Myopia is also called nearsightedness can get worst if you “stress” your eye too much, especially in kids still developing. Myopia is genetic and the people who have this gene should pay more attention to eye strain especially during growing stage. I am not saying straining your eyes is the reason why people develop Myopia. I am saying Myopia is genetic but straining your eyes can make those who have Myopia get worse.

  • linette lee

    Interesting, so it’s the lack of UV radiation that leads to nearsightedness. Or maybe it can be just a risk factor.

    I don’t know but seems like Myopia is a genetic disorder but has many risk factor that increase the risk of worsening the disorder. Like many Chinese people have Myopia and when they expose themselves to these risk factors the disorder gets worse.

    It’s like they say Black people are at higher risk for Hypertension. It’s genetic, so when a black person has hypertension and they eat all these salty foods which is a risk factor, their hypertension can get worse.

  • Jahar

    More fences. China needs more fences.

  • Sam Peng Bam

    Like so many dumb posters above, you failed to see that good habits should be cultivated. Your eyes strained if you keep them too close to the books because a person with good eyesight will not be able to focus on such short distant. Bad habits will make the eyes more able to focus objects very close but at the expense of focusing on distant objects. Genetics and environments plays a part but are only part of the factors. So are good lightings and lots of short regular rests.

    • Sam Peng Bam

      ‘People who do an excessive amount of near vision work may experience a false or “pseudo” myopia. Their blurred distance vision is caused by over use of the eyes’ focusing mechanism. After long periods of near work, their eyes are unable to refocus to see clearly in the distance. The symptoms are usually temporary and clear distance vision may return after resting the eyes. However, over time constant visual stress may lead to a permanent reduction in distance vision.’

  • pfcwms

    The intricacy of Chinese characters, especially in smaller fonts, contributes greatly to eyestrain and myopia. Reading them from further away is unlikely to change that much.

  • This is not how nearsightedness works.

  • I read a lot of books. And now I am nearsighted. But I have read a lot of books. :)

  • They sort of remind me of these rubber dongles they made us put on our pencils in elementary school to force us to write “correctly,” with the right hand. (I am left-handed.)

  • worldnick